It’s shrimp scampi on the grill and it’s delicious, obvi.
Grilling shrimp in their shells prevents overcooking, keeping the meat snappy, but also makes it difficult to properly season. The solution? A quick brine in salty water that seeps below the shell. A bit of sugar enhances the sweet shrimp flavor, and helps them char up on the grill.
Serves 4 as a main, or 6 to 8 as a starter
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 pounds head-on jumbo shrimp or prawns
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 large lemon plus 1 tablespoon of the juice
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 8 thick slices country bread
- Fill a large bowl with 2 quarts of cold water and add 1/4 cup of the salt and all of the sugar; stir to dissolve. Using scissors, cut a slit through the shell down the back of each shrimp to remove the vein, being careful not to remove the shell, head, or tail entirely. Add the shrimp to the brine and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
- One to two hours before grilling the shrimp, heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low until it’s shimmering-hot and smells aromatic. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until aromatic and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the parsley. Transfer half of the scampi sauce to a small bowl to have at the grill, and the rest to a serving bowl for the table.
- Prepare a grill for high heat direct cooking and oil the grates. Drain the shrimp and pat them very dry with paper towels. Have the small bowl of scampi sauce at the ready.
- First grill the bread slices until lightly charred on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the grilled bread to a serving platter and brush with some of the scampi sauce from the small bowl, reserving some for brushing the shrimp as it grills.
- Next grill the shrimp until nicely charred and just cooked through, brushing with the remaining sauce from the small bowl and turning them occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Arrange the shrimp on a serving platter. Place the serving bowl of scampi sauce and the grilled garlic bread alongside, and serve hot.